Proline is a conditionally indispensable amino acid. It occurs in high amounts in collagen tissue. It can be synthesised from and also converted to glutamic acid.
Proline helps the body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells. Its levels may drop during prolonged bouts of endurance exercise such as running, biking and swimming. Proline is also seen to have a muscle-sparing effect in endurance athletes, protecting muscle tissue from breakdown as a result of exercise.
In addition, it is important in the maintenance and healing of collagen tissues such as the skin, tendons and cartilage. Collagen, a smooth and flexible tissue that covers bones and holds them together, is approximately 15 percent proline. This makes proline beneficial for the treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis, soft tissue sprains and chronic back pain.
Other reported benefits or proline include its ability to fight arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)and improve skin texture. Its production increases during times of soft tissue trauma, injury and wound healing. It is an important compound in medical dressings that use collagen fragments to stimulate wound healing.
The mean dietary intake of proline is 5.2 grams per day with highest intakes reported to be around 12 grams per day.
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